Burning the Midnight Oil   (Part 1)

As I write this rut, ironically, it’s nearly midnight. Needless to say, I am almost burnt out. But when inspiration strikes the writer can’t always have the luxury of trading his pen for his pillow. Therefore, I shall add some more oil to my lamp, plug in my laptop and continue down this rut less traveled. I don’t mind staying up late to write something that will hopefully help someone, somewhere, find a few more moments of courage to endure and hopefully enjoy their life more. That makes every sleepless night worth it to me.

How about you? Ever have rough days, sleepless nights, feel overwhelmed, overburdened, or like it’s the same old ruts and routines every day? I don’t think it’s exaggerating to say that when you’re feeling stressed out, each punch of the time clock can seem like a punch in the gut. You feel like breaking down before you even get to the break room and when it’s time for a board meeting, you definitely feel bored. If you’re in school, every test and term paper can seem like a personal test of will, as in, “will it ever end?” You can tell yourself that it’s just one more class, one more semester, one more year, one more raise, or paycheck. But, no matter your employer, or place of education it’s always going to seem like one more something. That’s when the midnight oil begins to run dry.

We all get burnt out in life. Even boredom can become a burden. You weren’t meant to be lazy, but you weren’t meant for overtime all the time, either. What’s the solution? Is there one? You can’t just quit, can you? Don’t they say, “Winners never quit”? Yes, but there’s more to that mantra’s meaning than most people memorize. Winners also know when to quit, how to quit and why they’re quitting.

This means more than finding another job before you say goodbye to your current captain and jump ship. You have to think outside the inbox, the cubicle, and the desk—no matter how creatively you’ve decorated your home away from home. You’ve got to plan beyond the paycheck and know your limits. This means knowing when it’s time to stop complaining and step up and work harder and smarter, or step down and go find better work.

I know its tough burning the candle of commitment at both ends and you will certainly burn out long before the midnight oil does. You’ve got to realize that you can’t do it all and you don’t have to. If you already are then you’re probably nodding your head while reading this. I’m not suggesting you find an easy way out of whatever work you are doing. I am suggesting that you sit down with yourself, your family, or a trusted friend and really inventory your schedule and your life. Better to do an inventory now than an autopsy later.

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